MDC seeks public comments on proposed regulation change at Mozingo Lake

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St. Joseph, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is seeking public comment on a potential crappie fishing regulation change for Mozingo Lake at Maryville. MDC is recommending a creel limit change designed to allow anglers to harvest more crappie but also to increase the number of large crappie. The change would allow anglers to keep 30 crappie, but only 15 crappie over nine inches could be harvested per person per day.

Mozingo Lake has historically received extremely high fishing pressure for crappie, said Tory Mason, MDC fisheries management biologist. That eventually resulted in a very low crappie population. In 2017, the creel limit was changed from a 30-fish to a 15-fish daily limit. Biologists hoped the harvest decrease would help the remaining fish to reach a larger and harvestable size for anglers.

After three years under the new regulation, crappie recruitment at Mozingo Lake has been very high, Mason said. Yet fishing pressure has declined, because while the lake has many crappie, most are smaller than anglers would like to keep. Crappie growth has slowed with so many fish competing for food.

“We propose that the regulation be changed back to a 30-fish limit, but only 15 fish over nine inches can be kept by each angler per day,” Mason said.

A similar regulation change for crappie went into effect at Smithville Lake in 2019 and has been favorably received by anglers. They are catching more crappie over nine inches and harvesting a large number of smaller fish.  The change reduces competition for food and boosts growth.

“This will likely help the size structure at Mozingo Lake while allowing a more liberal harvest for anglers,” Mason said.

Anglers can provide comments on the potential regulation change online. To comment, visit